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toured together. he says, "i have white privilege. he said -- i learned about white privilege from this experience." he was totally change because they put him in a cell with a gay black man who was hiv- positive, and he watched this man die, and it just changed his life. he came out, left the movement, married a woman from thailand, had a bunch of brown babies. [laughter] had to quit his job at the pornography store because having daughters was not going to make that work for him. and he started poetry. i heard him in 1999, the same situation -- the same year the situation happened. said his daughter is part ti, part laotian, part redneck, part hick. he said she would walk down the
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street and great people in multi-cultural phrases. he uses the story to say something that people often do not here when i say it. that there is such a thing as white privilege as much as there is male privilege. those with any sense of freedom and justice have to find a way to reconstruct their privilege, if we want to actually make the better world -- the world a better place for our children and their children. [applause] >> we have had pieces of these very interesting lives that can show us what the state of things happens to be. i year over year that the signs were up, of what you could do. the laws in some ways were clear on the books. one difference is that the laws are not as clear on the books, but just as active.
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here, people were struggling. they knew they had to fight. they knew they had to stand up, but we are still in a certain amount of denial about this. those of you who have read michele alexander's booke, it says that this needs to be a national conversation. part of the national conversation, i hope, is here. that is why we are going to turn it over to you, to engage in some conversation with our guests. >> i just want to say to the young people today, especially teenagers, boys and girls, some of whom might have been incarcerated, what advice would you give to them? >> first thing i would say -- believe in yourself. if you do not believe in yourself and have some kind of faith and try to work hard, and
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listen to your teachers and take advantage of all the resources that you have, learning resources. >> today is super bowl sunday. what can our black men in the nfl do to help us have some great people? that is the only place i get to see a positive role model is by watching sports. i think we have a lot of cultures we could really bring together, but we are not joining. >> great question. in 1968, when we saw the black system in the air, that did not happen in a vacuum. it happened in the context of a broader movement. i think we have to remember that. because the building of that movement, the movement for progressive action, revolutionary action --, you know, if we are going to talk
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about revolution and fundamental systemic change in society, we have to really understand the that is about building consciousness, building awareness, and being committed to the grimy role that is not always going to be on super bowl sunday on the big screen. it will not always capture that. if you want to push the revolution now and start handing of guns, you might shoot me, right? we do not have an understanding of exactly what needs to happen and how it needs to happen. i think education is critical. we have to push for an education that we're just not receiving for the most part. there are pockets of that happening, but i think that awareness will produce the next scenario -- the next generation of folks in entertainment, in the arts and all these arenas that are high-profile but with the embedded with this consciousness that will demand the stand up and say something. no more of the michael jordan
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cannot speak out because politics is not a good thing to speak out against. it will be the jamaican musicians, the peter toshes and bob marleys -- the people -- the politicians had to be responsive to what people were saying and doing because there was a movement around these high- profile folks. they cannot just represent the movement. they have to come out of the movement. it has to be present in our communities and schools and prisons even for that to happen. otherwise, we end up with the tail wagging the dog. these boats we have artificially created to be our saviors, and we need to be our own saviors. [applause] >> how do you see -- and this is to either one of you -- do you see the new disciplinary action,
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the prison system at this point, and where do we go? because you are doing wonderful work in the system. where we go to make that not happen anymore? >> i also want to throw out because sister davis is here and working with restorative justice for youth, to invite her voice into that question as well. >> what we are doing in oakland is to try to break the school to prison pipeline by coming up with alternatives to incarceration. in this case, restorative alternatives. instead of saying a young person has a fight and hurting someone, instead of sending that young person ought to be incarcerated immediately, what we do is we put him or her and supporters, family members in a circle with the person who was harmed along with their family members and a
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facilitator, and that young person has the opportunity to sit face-to-face across from the person that was harmed and hear that person say, "you have devastated me. this is how. here are the human consequences of his or her actions, and the circle all together will come up with an action for the person to repair the harm. this is just an example -- say it is a case of a young person who has burned down a building, someone's home or business. instead of sending that person off to be incarcerated, he or she could be by the circle sentenced to serve 200 hours, being the personal assistant for a burn patient. that is the kind of thing that will really transform lives. [applause] in oakland, what we are trying to do is engage in these restorative actions, have
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restored a justice instead of punitive justice. with punitive, we just add more harm to the harm, and it gets greater and greater. we are trying to have a justice that heals the harm so we can begin to transform not only lives but transform the systems because the systems need to be healing systems. as obama says, we need to start uttering healing words. president obama said that at the tucson memorial. we have to start uttering healing words to one another instead of wounding words. what we are trying to do is create systems -- school systems and juvenile justice system is that he'll instead of juvenile justice systems and school systems that continue to wound our youth. >> can i just say something about the systems of discipline in schools? so that before it even gets to the place where it is an issue, is that those systems definitely need changing.
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the question that parents need to ask when they have been told that their child has been involved in some misbehavior is to ask what was happening? what were the conditions? what were the circumstances? what were the antecedence that led to this behavior? because if we do not fix those, we will seed the systems you talk about. [applause] it is amazing how many young people can be turned back from negative behavior if the situation is appropriately addressed in schools. looking at the circumstances that give rise to boredom and bad conduct. so i encourage parents and teachers to ask what conditions are being created that contribute to the conduct. just want to say that because we could stop it earlier. [applause] >> i want to thank the panel for
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being here today. i was in the civil rights movement as well. we marched in -- down on canal street. down at woolworth's. we closed down the university. then, from there, we sat down. we could not leave. they threw pies at s. from there, we got jailed three times. the dogs were put on us. the fire hoses. all this in new orleans, louisiana. we met with dr. king. he came to our church. he was beaten. you could see that on television every night where the ministers were beaten trying to get people to vote down in new orleans and baton rouge. when i came down here, the same
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thing was going on. we went to san francisco state university to get my credentials and my master's degree. we had to close the school down to get to ethnic studies. the police marching on us at san francisco state. after leaving new orleans and coming here, it was still a fight. comparing the schools, yes, i can see the different -- i can see the difference. those parents are there, and they bring in money for those schools, and they have all kinds of book fairs and arts festivals, computer labs, and at hunters point, it is a whole different story. you do not have a computer labs there. we do not have a parent involvement. it is a total difference. >> your perspective on jamal,
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awaiting the decision on whether he will be executed or spend his life in prison. >> he should be released. [applause] one of my professors actually is working on his case, so i have been following through her visits and conversations, but i think it is the quintessential example of what is happening with the intellects in our community. he is a brilliant brother. if you have not gone on youtube and seen him offering his insight on any number of social political issues -- i mean geopolitical issues, what is happening in afghanistan and iraq, what is happening with education in this country. his analysis -- the death of his insight and analysis i think is just undeniable -- the debt -- the depth of his insight and
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analysis is just undeniable. it is a reflection of how comfortable and distracted many of us our -- us are that we have not created a more sustained movement around cases like this. i voted for barack obama. i would vote for him again when the time comes. at the same time, i get asked this question so often, right? are we post-race? are we past racism because there is a black man in the white house? the question is, i mean, was england post-gender with margaret thatcher? indira gandhi, was in the a post-gender when bolivia elected its first working class president, where the post-class? i mean, it is a reflection of the dichotomy. the movement -- you cannot deny the accomplishments of the movement. the human rights movement, which
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we need to begin talking about more, and malcolm x began to increasingly before he was assassinated, but the thing is, these smokescreens get thrown at us, and we fall over and over again. happen with clarence thomas in a certain way, right, you know? in a more evil way, many of us have gotten comfortable because rock is in the white house, but he cannot be most effective unless we are on his ass, right? we voted, so i will go home now, and see you in four years. the republicans, the tea party, all these folks, they are on his ass, so if you believe that all that there is power in that position, and there are folks that make convincing arguments about a black face on white supremacy, so there is complications, but can progress
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be made? can progress be made with that position? absolutely. but while we honor and acknowledge that, we have to look at the masses of folks, and i think jamal represents the conditions of the masses that we need to be focused on. >> did you want to say something? it looked as though you were starting to say something. >> i will say, he said the same thing i was thinking. people ask me how i feel about having an african-american president. i said i had ambivalent feelings. on the one hand, i know that he is only one man and he can only do so much, and he only has four years to do it, but we as a people have to unite locally in the city, and first, you start
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in the home, and then you go to the community, and our churches, where the movement began, in our churches. i still feel that barack obama is doing the best he can for one man, from what he inherited from the other administration. [applause] >> thank you. first, i would like to say thank you to awele and the san francisco unified school district and the african american center and everyone else involved in bringing this program to the san francisco public library on black history month. secondly, you were speaking about the constructing the narrative paradigm, okay? what indicators and trends? because of your work that you have done in the prison systems,
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particularly with young people and older african-american males -- since they are under attack, what indicators would you like to see work on first? because it has to be a start somewhere. we can all start in different places, but what can we do collectively to start making change? >> excellent question. the sister just a little while ago talked about breaking the public school to prison pipeline. that is one concrete thing that we can focus our energy on. i know there are folks in this room actively working on that. there is also building a corrections to college pipeline, the present to employment pipeline. the incarceration halls in communities pipeline, so building those mechanisms. i spent the last year once a month working with a reentry
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group in boston, and it actually was funded by obama's stimulus plan. everybody wonders where the stimulus program money went, and one thing if it was fun this program. working with the oldest anti- party organization in new england, which ted kennedy was a champion of. we created a series of workshops for the whole year based around a human-rights platform. not looking at these folks who need to be saved but as folks who can engage in a dynamic process to think critically about the situation they are in, understand the situation they are in so they can make informed choices and the other folks on to the information they are getting. we took malcolms idea. we got the united nations convention of the rights of a child. we constructed some of the basic elements. over the years, we created human rights report cards where the young folks in me this
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organization, who were just coming home, one month they did a report card with a graded the public schools. the next month, they greeted the police in their community. the next month, they greeted the health care services in their community. all of these things -- there's an international convention that says young people have a basic human rights. not citizenship rights but human-rights that need to be protected around the world. everybody in the united nations assembly signed this except for the united states and somalia. we have begun to gather the information. i have a little bit more literature year if you want to talk afterwards, and some examples of that, but that is one of the things we need to do. let's look at the fundamental violations of our rights that are happening in your community and think about how we can elevate this to a level of international acclaim. it may seem a ways down the road, but if we are working in
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solidarity to actually gather this information, while we're fixing the problem at the same time, i think that is one plausible direction for us to go in. >> hello. thank you for coming. in a native san franciscan. i have actually two questions. one is i had the experience of staying in atlanta, georgia, for several years, and one of the things i saw was the prosperity and how they actually really took care of business. is there any way to kind of model that system or progress that was made in atlanta and kind of import it into the black communities that we see here today that struggle economically? i think that that would be
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something to take a look at. and also, how or what would you suggest to shed light on the lynching that still continues in the south in counties like forsyth? >> i do not know about different cities. different cities have different demographics. in atlanta, -- i speak about atlanta because that is where my son lives, in atlanta, georgia. in atlanta, you have the african-americans who go away and they come back. they are educated, and they are more goal-oriented. they are more goal-oriented, and therefore, if you teach the children to reach for the sky, and they will study hard. most people from atlanta are a
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little more conservative. >> do you have something you would like to add to that about economic situations? >> i definitely think -- this is -- you know, the old saying, it is not rocket science? some of this stuff is harder than rocket science because it involves people, and we do not always act in a logical, decisive way. elaine brown i heard say a little while ago that she lived in atlanta, and we always talk about how great atlantic is doing, but we do not own nothing in atlanta. they look like they are doing good, they have the cosmetic liberation, right? cosmetic change, cosmetic liberation, but when you look at who owns most of the city,
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right? who is in control of the power in the city? it may be marginally better for black votes in some other places, but there are still fundamental issues with the school system. look at the endowment of emory compared to some of the black universities and colleges in atlanta. entrepreneurship is a big part of it. i did not understand and nobody told me what is involved with buying your own home until i was in my second law school, where is the my counterparts, the white students i was in class with, they had had that information coming up. it was just second nature. i asked the guy across the hall from me what his folks did. but told him my mom was a nurse and my dad was a teacher, a soldier before. he said his father was the deputy prime minister of jordan.
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i was like, "ok." minute court partner -- my moot court partner, he said his father owned three swiss banks. i think even before entrepreneurship, it is financial literacy. we need to educate ourselves about what these resources are. it is financial literacy and really wealth literacy, understanding that there are different kinds of wealth beyond just monetary wealth, but you need to understand monetary wealth, spiritual well, the social capital we have and understand how to cultivate those things and invest them properly. those are important skills. at the same time, i do not think black capitalism is the solution to the problems of black folks who have been the victims of capitalism's boot. >> making sure that that kind of
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information becomes available. that could be the subject of what we deal with in black history month. you know? hal the wealth is developed. who developed it. loans what? how one gets to own it. we could do that. it could be touchy, but it could be useful. i'm just saying that we could use occasions for teaching about things that could make a difference. so i just say raise questions, and sometimes, raise hell when you raise the questions. [applause] >> i wanted to know if there was an african-american district attorney working in texas to review some of the cases that were -- i guess, tried, and some of the evidence was not valid. looking through investigating some of those cases to find out if they should be released because of the false information that was acquired. >> the attorney who has been the
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lead on the team that i have been in communication with is a guy by the name of morris moon, and he would be the person i could ask to find out the answer. there is actually a be a working on that, but i know there have been so many cases -- there is actually a d.a. working on that, but i know there have been so many cases that have been exposed, especially with dna testing. it is almost like every other week. there does need to be somebody looking into it from that angle. of the top of my head, i do not know, but i could definitely get that information. >> how can we make it not just black history day, not just black history month, but every day be black history and honor that? thank you. and how do we really teach our children, our students really not what the media portrays, not
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what -- but really, what happened? i did get a chance to experience "eyes on the price" and i thought that was just the tip of the iceberg -- experience "eyes on the priceze." >> i do not know how to go about it, but what i would suggest is the reason why i did what i did, why i was brave enough and courageous enough to not give up my seat, because so much history was in my mind, and one of the things they were always asking me was why i did not get up when i was asked, and my answer would always be history had me glued to the seat. [applause] i think that what is left out of
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american history -- you should not be ashamed to say that we enslaved these people and mystery these people, a race of people. it should be included in the american history, and it would be every day. [applause] >> really quickly, it jolla i went to school with named sol williams said, "stealing as was the smartest thing you ever did. too bad you do not teach the true to your kids." that line says so much. -- a scholar i went to school with.
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it is not just about changing lives of black people, but changing the lives of everybody by teaching true history, which includes jim crow and slavery before it -- but before that, the first people to walk the planet and develop situation -- civilization came along the nile river valley. if we teach african history as human history, history will require that you incorporate our story and tell it the right way. [applause] >> just to say that in terms of how teaching history can make a difference to these test scores that we are also obsessed with, i had a piece of news from mississippi where the book, "putting the movement back into civil rights" -- are you familiar with that? the superintendent has agreed -- and your piece is in it,